Huntington was recorded in the Domesday Book 1086 as Hantinetune, 'the homestead of the huntsmen'and described as wasteland having been destroyed during the conflict between the English and the Welsh some thirty years earlier.
Huntington possessed a late 11th century castle (a probable replacement of the pre-Norman Turret Castle in Hell Wood which had been destroyed by the forces of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn forty years earlier) later to be fortified in stone and known by the Welsh as Y Castell Maen.
By the 13th century Huntington Castle (right and below) was the defensive and administrative centre of an important manor with resident reeve or steward. The manor of Huntington comprised the three parishes of Kington, Huntington and Brilley and divided into two parts - English and Welsh Huntington.
It was probably at this time that a 'military' borough was established - a ghost of a borough plan extends southwards from the castle to the church, but without the natural defenses evident in other military boroughs such as Hay. The rising ground in the southern part of the field between the castle and Lower House (the site of the original manor) shows some evidence of house platforms.
In hostile territory such as Huntington, the creation of a military borough as an appendage to the castle probably resulted in concessions of personal freedom in order to attract settlers. In the 1299 Inquisition of lands and tenements of Huntington witnessed on the oath of Richard de Baskerville and John de Huntington among other, mention is made of 47 free tenants and a total of £8 13s 5d. paid in rents. Some of these free tenants were of Welsh origin such s David ap Wawayn and Llewelyn ap Joneth the miller - a surprisingly large percentage of free tenants were of Norman extraction. Among the tenants in 1299 was an individual with the rather curious name of Mahonly. This under various forms persists until 1719with the name Edward Mahollam.
As a marcher lord, the owner of the castle, such as Humphrey de Bohun, excercised civil and criminal jurisdiction and held court in the hall at the castle three times a year, with proceedings recorded by the reeve. Below is an entry in the Court Baron from 1748.
The honour of Mannor of English Huntington
At a Private Court Baron of Thomas Eyre Esquire Lord of the same Mannor held in and for the same Mannor at the dwelling house of John Jenkins situated at Huntington with the Mannor on Saturday the twelfth day of November in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and fforty eight before Richard Hooper Gentleman Deputy under Humphry Pytt Gentleman Capitall Steward of the sam e Mannor
In 1348 the reeve, Roger Barton, wrote that as a result of the pestilence, Huntington rents were in arrears from 15 tenements and he recorded the death of 7 tenants from the Black Death. The same Roger Barton in 1372 listed details of the stock on the lord's manor farm as follows: 3 carthorses, 17 bullocks used for draught and 324 sheep, of which 25 were bought in May at 1s 5d. each. Nine of the flock died in winter before the shearing and 23 after, which suggests that Roger Barton did his shearing a little too early. 315 fleeces are accounted for at the shearing, of which 29 were rendered for tithes, one given as gift to the shepherd, one fold for 7d. and the remainder sent to Brecon. The skins of the sheep which died before shearing were sold at 4d. each, those which died after at 2d. One penny per score was paid for collecting and shearing, 4d. to a man for taking the wool to a packer and 4d. for its carriage as far as Hay.